A couple of weeks ago, my candidate, Joe Biden, ended his Presidential run. I was forced to make the same choice that many of you are making today. Which candidate would I choose come February 5th, primary day for much of the nation?
I chose Barack Obama, and let me tell you why.
I believe in Barack Obama's message and in his ability to get the job done. I believe that we need change and I believe in the kind of change Senator Obama espouses, and the changes are:
1-Changes in policy. For many years, we have either neglected or willfully ignored our biggest problems: more than 40 million Americans without health care, rising health care costs, global warming, the mortgage crisis, an education system that once was the envy of the world and is now falling behind at the same time the world is becoming more competitive and education is becoming more important. Who will best address these issues? I trust Barack Obama.
2-Changes in the way we are perceived in the world. Anyone who has traveled abroad (and many of those who haven't had the chance) know that the rest of the world has an unprecedented level of distrust and anger toward the U.S. They despise our President and they are baffled as to why the American people would re-elect George W. Bush. How do we change the perception of the United States? I believe it is Barack Obama who will help the U.S. regain the world's trust, which will make us a stronger, safer nation.
2-Changes in tone.
What do I mean by changes in tone? Let's go back to when the tone, the way we speak to each other, the divisiveness, really started.
It started in Philadelphia, Mississippi, in 1980, when Ronald Reagan (with Lee Atwater at the helm) gave his kickoff speech for his Presidential campaign. He chose to give the speech where three civil rights workers - Freedom Riders - were killed. He chose to talk about "states' rights," code for "stop the advancement of African-Americans."
It continued with Newt Gingrich, who changed the way our Congress operates. He forced out Jim Wright as speaker. He became speaker himself, and he talked of how the Left was responsible for the diseases in the world, and he said, literally, that the Left cripples human beings.
And it reached its peak with Karl Rove, who decided to divide us neighborhood by neighborhood. He targeted fear. He thrived on it. Fear of gay marriage. Fear of terrorists. Fear of those wimpy Democrats.
But I don't believe that our country is that divided. I believe that this country has been failed by its leadership.
Let me give you an example of that failed leadership:
On September 11th, after the Towers went down, there were lines of people, snaking around New York City streets, all waiting for hours to give blood. They were told that there was no more blood to give, but they did not just walk away. They stayed in those lines, and they stayed there because they wanted to do something. Do anything.
In World War II, people gave up everything for the cause: their lives, the lives of loved ones. Rationing of gas, coffee, sugar, and meat. A tax rate of a staggering 94%.
Everyone sacrificed, poor and rich alike. And now, after 9/11, this was our time, this generation's chance to be the Greatest Generation.
What did this President ask us to do?
The President said, "Go shopping." When the President made this request, I considered it an enormous insult. This is what he thinks of us - that we can do no more than shop, that we are not capable of sacrifice.
He then cut taxes for the richest Americans.
He divided the nation, in order to conquer the country for the Republican Party.
I want a President who does not appeal to our lowest common denominator. I want a President who will speak to what Abraham Lincoln called, "The better angels of our nature."
I want a President who would have used 9/11 as a chance to, yes, take it to Osama Bin Laden, but who would have brought the world together. I want a President who would have asked us to sacrifice so that we no longer send our money to the Arab dictators who then use our dollars to teach their kids to hate America.
Barack Obama is the person I want to be President. It's not just that he inspires, it's not just that he provides hope, it's that he has the wisdom, the life experience, and the heart to make the changes that I want to see.
The next President will enter office with more Democrats in the Senate than there are today. He or she will have a great opportunity to advance his agenda, our agenda.
Ask yourself this:
Of the current candidates on both sides of the aisle, which candidate would make you proudest if they were to become President of the United States?
Which candidate would best help us turn the page on the political wars of the last 28 years?
Which candidate would best put the Bush years behind us and begin a new era?
Which candidate will have an open government, and not hold secret meetings with the energy titans, with the pharmaceutical companies, or with the health care lobbyists?
Which candidate has the confidence and the will to end the era of torture and spying on American citizens?
Which candidate will speak to our better nature?
When you consider these issues, and weigh the candidates remaining on both the Democratic and Republican sides, there really is no choice, is there? Barack Obama is the best candidate to bring about the changes that we need.